Today Arcade Fire’s Will Butler releases Friday Night, his new live album. Mostly recorded at Lincoln Hall in Chicago the summer of 2015, mixed in with little bits from Bar Le Ritz in Montreal, the album is a fun romp filled with the delightful upbeat energy that will be familiar to anyone who’s been lucky enough to catch Butler live. Friday Night pulls from Butler’s recent tour supporting his debut album, Policy, featuring five songs from said record (“Anna,” “Take My Side,” “Son Of God,” “Something’s Coming” & “Sing To Me”), as well as two songs he wrote for The Guardian last year (“You Must Be Kidding” & “Madonna Can’t Save Me Now”) and five brand-new tracks.
Will Butler explains the album saying…
Think of this as a comedy record. In some ways literally-Brooklyn comedian Jo Firestone does the introduction and the “solo” in “Friday Night”-but also, it’s an album based on working out ideas in a room full of people, playing off their energy and expectations. It’s about taking complicated emotions and wringing communal joy from them, and then translating that joy onto record. So here you go!
The album opens and closes with encores, the first being new track “Tell Me We’re All Right,” a slow vulnerable building loose rocker that has Bulter and the audience chanting modest affirmations like “I’m not scared, I’m terrified” and “We’re alright!” This leads into an intro which features the audience being asked to boo Butler as he takes the stage, as Jo Firestone instructs, “when he takes the stage, just boo him, boo him until he cries, because he needs it.”
The jokes continue into track “II” which is a short jam that has Butler demanding the crowd to “take your paw, and cover your motherfucking eyes! ”It’s all raw, upbeat and has that Violent Femmes-esque singalong quality that Butler does so well. “Sun Comes Up” is a slower emotional piano driven piece with a thumping heartbeat base, while “Public Defender” is a shaking swirl of nah nah nahs perfect for friendly moshing.
The album closes with second encore and soaring titled track “Friday Night” which has Butler singing about his own ambitions and wanting to build something of his own, as the audience yells things they’ve never done before.
With all the fun snippets and audience participation in between, in addition to the soild new tracks, Friday Night holds its own as a live album and has us excited to see what’s next from Butler.
Watch a live clip of Will Butler performing “Take My Side” below.